5 Best Tools for Creating a Simple Gantt Chart


Gantt charts are powerful planning tools in project management, but they’re also notoriously difficult to make. There is, however, a simple Gantt chart that can be made in a variety of ways that can be essential when scheduling a project.

Let’s look at what a simple Gantt chart is and why one would want to use it over the more dynamic Gantt charts. Then, we’ll explore the different tools that you can use to build a simple Gantt chart and offer some free simple Gantt chart templates to get you started.

What Is a Simple Gantt Chart?

A simple Gantt chart is a Gantt chart that doesn’t have as many functions as more advanced Gantt charts. You can think of it as a Gantt chart that you create on a spreadsheet. It will look very much like a Gantt chart, but won’t be interactive and, therefore, less powerful than Gantt chart software.

However, a simple Gantt chart might be just what you need to plan a project. It’s certainly better than trying to schedule work without one. A simple Gantt chart is relatively the same as a more dynamic one. It’s a horizontal bar chart that visually represents a project plan over time, listing all the project tasks and their start and end dates.

If you need more than a simple Gantt chart, try ProjectManager, an award-winning project and portfolio management software with powerful Gantt charts that do more without the difficulty of other digital Gantt charts. You can organize tasks, create milestones and assign tasks to team members, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. We let you link all four types of task dependencies to avoid costly delays, filter for the critical path to identify essential tasks and you can set a baseline to track planned effort against your actual effort in real time. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt charts are more dynamic than simple Gantt charts. Learn more

Benefits of a Simple Gantt Chart

Whatever type of Gantt chart is right for you, using one is always helpful when planning your project. There are many advantages to using even a simple Gantt chart to schedule your tasks. Here are only a few reasons why.

  • Some Project Management Software Can Be Hard to Use: Gantt charts have a bad reputation. They can be hard to use, even Gantt chart software, especially when it comes to editing. Projects change fast and simple Gantt charts can be easier to edit than even digital ones. However, not all project management software is created equally. You’ll probably want to try it and see how they function in the real world.
  • A Simple Gantt Chart Can Be Implemented Easily: If you solely want a visual timeline to view your entire project from start to finish, then a simple Gantt chart is the right tool. All you have to do is list your tasks and the duration of each. It’s a lot easier than having to add resources, costs, dependencies, milestones and more. All of those things are helpful but add complexity you might not want.
  • Simple Gantt Chart Templates Help Project Managers Save Time: The effort of setting up a more dynamic Gantt chart might be unnecessary if your project is relatively simple. A simple Gantt chart can be created quickly and easily, saving you time to focus on the more important execution and monitoring of your project.

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Gantt Chart Template

Use this free Gantt Chart Template for Excel to manage your projects better.


What Tools Can Be Used to Create a Simple Gantt Chart?

If you’re ready to use a simple Gantt chart, there are several ways you can make one. Each of these methods has thas advantages and disadvantages, but overall provides you with the simple Gantt chart you need to schedule your work and get started on executing your project.


ProjectManager is a project management software that makes it easy for users to build the Gantt charts they need for their projects. There are industry-specific templates in the software that can help you get started. You can also import CSV, Excel and even Microsoft Project files. In the case of MS Project, you can even export them back into MS Project, if you’re stuck using this expensive and complicated project management software. ProjectManager also lets you build a Gantt chart from scratch. There is a lot of functionality to these Gantt charts, but you can make a simple Gantt chart to meet your needs. Get started with a free Gantt chart template.

Simple Gantt chart in project management software
Make a simple Gantt chart with ProjectManager. Try it free

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is probably the most popular spreadsheet software. You can make a simple Gantt chart in Excel by following the steps outlined in this blog. With a simple Gantt chart for Microsoft Excel, you can organize all your project tasks, including when they start and when they’re due. The duration of each task is then shown in the visual timeline as a bar running horizontally across the chart. You can pinpoint milestones on the timeline and even indicate dependent tasks to a degree. However, you have to manually update it and Microsoft Excel documents aren’t great for collaborating.

Simple Gantt chart template for Excel
Make a simple Gantt chart in Excel with a free template. Get the template

Microsoft Planner

Microsoft Planning is a tool offered in the Office 365 suite and is designed for work management. While Microsoft Planner doesn’t have a Gantt chart, there is a way to make a Microsoft Planner Gantt chart with ProjectManager. This involves the import and export function we talked about earlier. You can download your Microsoft Planner project as an Excel, CSV or MMP file and import it into ProjectManager. Then you can customize it as a simple Gantt chart and even export it back to Microsoft Planner after you’ve made whatever changes you needed to make.

Google Sheets

Another tool that can make a simple Gantt chart is Google Sheets, which is an online spreadsheet. The advantage of this tool over Microsoft Excel is that it’s collaborative. The simple Gantt chart lives online and there is only one document that is updated that everyone can view. Therefore, this is a more collaborative tool than a simple Gantt chart in a static spreadsheet. Read how to make a simple Gantt chart in Google Sheets.


Powerpoint is a very familiar software tool, at least in a business environment. Making a simple Gantt chart in PowerPoint is helpful because most people will know how to use the software. Also, you’ll find that PowerPoint is almost universally used throughout companies and industries. That means it’ll be easy to share this simple Gantt chart as most people are going to have PowerPoint on their computers. Follow the steps in this article to make a Gantt chart in PowerPoint. While it’s not project management software, it can be a helpful workaround for people who aren’t ready to upgrade to more dynamic Gantt charts.

Free Simple Gantt Chart Templates

If you don’t want to go through the effort of making a simple Gantt chart, you can use a Gantt chart template. We’ve created dozens of project management templates for Excel, Word and Google Sheets including Gantt chart templates that facilitate the process of setting up a Gantt chart. All you need to do is fill in the blanks. Templates aren’t ideal, but if all you need is a simple Gantt chart and you don’t want to build one from scratch, then these are a good option.

Gantt Chart Template for Excel

ProjectManager has over 100 free project management templates for Excel and Word that you can download. Some templates address every aspect of managing a project across many industries. This is a simple Gantt chart that lists all your tasks, start and end dates and then they’ll automatically populate a visual timeline.

Gantt Chart Template for Google Sheets

We’ve also created a free simple Gantt chart for Google Sheets to help you plan and schedule projects. Follow the link above and you’ll get a view-only simple Gantt chart template for Google Sheets. To use the simple Gantt chart, you’ll have to make a copy by clicking File at the top left-hand corner and then Make a Copy. You can also copy and paste the simple Gantt chart into a new Google Sheet.

Gantt Chart Template for PowerPoint

We’ve mentioned the popularity of PowerPoint. If you want to make your own, then follow the link earlier in the blog. But if you want to just get a simple Gantt chart, use the link above and after you’ve submitted your email you’ll get access to the Gantt chart template for PowerPoint.

ProjectManager Is the Best Gantt Chart Software

Of course, even a simple Gantt chart template, regardless of whether it’s in Excel, Google Sheet or PowerPoint, will only take you so far. They’re labor-intensive and require users to manually update them. That’s not the best solution for managing your projects. Even if you just want a simple Gantt chart, ProjectManager is a better option. Our Gantt charts can be as simple or dynamic as you need and they’re fully customizable, collaborative and track your progress in real time. Unlike templates, they can filter for the critical path and update in real time to give you an overview of your project’s progress.

Use Multiple Project Management Tools

Project managers love Gantt charts. They can track costs, have built-in work breakdown structures (WBS), sync with timesheets, workload charts and more. But teams don’t need even a simple Gantt chart when executing their tasks.

That’s why we have multiple project views, including kanban boards, task lists, sheet and calendar views, so team members can use the tool that best suits their needs. All our project views are updated simultaneously, which means everyone is updated and working on the most current project data. That type of collaboration can’t be achieved with templates.

ProjectManager's list view
Manage Resources and Track Labor Costs

Another thing you can’t do with a simple Gantt chart is manage resources. Resources are anything you need to execute your tasks, such as your team. We allow you to set their availability, such as vacation, PTO and even global holidays for remote teams, which makes it easier to assign them tasks on our Gantt chart.

Then you can view the team’s allocation by visiting our color-coded workload chart. With team management software, it’s easy to see who is overallocated and you can balance the team’s workload right from the chart to keep them working at capacity and staying productive. We also have secure timesheets that streamline the payroll process and give managers a window into labor costs to help them stay on budget.

ProjectManager's workload chart
Related Gantt Chart Content

There’s a lot more to know about Gantt charts than how to create a simple Gantt chart. Our site publishes weekly blogs, tutorial videos and free templates. Here are some of the pieces we’ve posted that are related to Gantt charts.

ProjectManager is online project and portfolio management software that connects teams whether they’re in the office, out in the field or anywhere in the world. Teams can share files, comment at the task level and stay updated with email and in-app notifications. Join teams at Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our software to deliver successful projects. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.